Skip to main content

First Blues: Rags, Ballads and Harmonium Songs

First Blues: Rags, Ballads and Harmonium Songs

Legendary Beat poet Allen Ginsberg explores the fusion of poetry and music in this rare 1970s recording. Called a "venerated bard of resistance" Ginsberg sought "how the raw mind actually works" through poetry. This collection of fun ditties spouts against capitalism, among other things, and is an amusing and enjoyable listen. Ginsberg accompanies himself with a small hand-pumped harmonium from India, occasionally adding his own guttural rhythms reminiscent of Dadaist sound-poetry (see for example "Put Down Your Cigarette Rag" and "Prayer Blues"), while other songs, such as "Bus Ride Ballad Road to Suva", echo folk ballads from yesteryear. Ginsberg prefaces each song himself. Liner notes include an introduction from Ginsberg.

Track Listing

4 A.M. Blues / New York Blues / New York Youth Call Annunciation (medley) Allen Ginsberg 10:02
COME BACK CHRISTMAS; MacDougal Street Blues Allen Ginsberg 6:52
CIA Dope Calypso Allen Ginsberg 4:59
Put Down Your Cigarette Rag Allen Ginsberg 3:42
Slack Key Guitar; Siratoka Beach Croon Allen Ginsberg 7:03
Bus Ride Ballad Road to Suva Allen Ginsberg 4:16
Prayer Blues Allen Ginsberg 10:25
Dope Fiend Blues Allen Ginsberg 4:30